Feb 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day...

As I start this post, I wish my wife of soon to be 15 years a Happy Valentine's Day.  I got her flowers and candy yesterday and am about to go home to cook steaks for tonight.  I love the fact that I get to show her how much I love her.  However, I shouldn't have to feel compelled to do it one day out of the year.  I should be more inclined to show her daily by being a servant and spiritual leader.  I think periodic moments of getting off my rear watching TV to sweep the floor or wash the dishes does much more (and is much cheaper) than flowers and candy and steaks.  My wife is so awesome, she deserves both.

Unfortunately, Valentine's Day is one more example of the tendency in our culture to go to commercial extremes.  It's a day we feel pressured to perform acts of love.  However, true love is not a performance.  It shouldn't be about commercialization.  In addition, Valentine's Day has a tendency to feed that fallen part of our nature that believes that the measure of love is to be made much of by someone else.  Our hearts are idol factories and many times the chief idol we worship is "me." This becomes a problem when we don't have someone to make much of us - when our loved ones are taken away, when we are single, etc.  When the idols of our love and affection are taken away from us, they often reveal how shallow our understanding of love really is. 

If you are a follower of Christ, I would encourage you to find your identity in the gospel and know that much has already been made of you, not because of anything you bring to the table, but because "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  The cross of Jesus is the ultimate display of God's love.  Not because it makes much of you, but because it shows the brutal price God paid to redeem you of your sin.  A friend of mine said it well today on Facebook, "John 3:16 is not a "valentine." It is the declaration of holy God that He sent Jesus to earth in order to crush Him so that He wouldn't have to crush you. Don't cheapen it."  (Thanks Dave!)

So take some time to celebrate your loved ones today.  And take some time today to remember that the love that God has shown in our hearts is infinitely greater than any displays of love that we will show to one another.